By KBB.com Editors
Fresh from a major makeover last year, the Malibu sedan and Malibu Maxx wagon continue to offer consumers a strong incentive to move away from the leading imports and come home to Chevrolet. Loaded with unique features and based on a proven European platform, known in General Motors as the Epsilon, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx have strong appeal to consumers looking to get out of their gas-thirsty SUVs and into something fuel efficient, roomy and fun to drive. Although their engines and transmissions are not yet up to the standards set by Toyota and Honda, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx are far from outdated. Unfortunately, the pair still has some catching up to do in the area of residual and long-term resale values.
If you're looking for a mid-size sedan or hatchback with generous rear seat leg- and headroom plus an ample cargo hold, the Malibu and Malibu Maxx should be on your list. Those who spend hours in their cars will appreciate the excellent front seats.
If you're partial to Japanese-quality interiors, the Malibu probably won't cut it. Though clean, the overall interior is not up to the standard set by Mazda, Toyota and Hyundai. There is no manual transmission option, either.
The 3.5-liter V6 is fitted with variable valve timing (VVT) and front and rear head-curtain airbags are now standard on LS and LT trims.
Driving Impressions The Epsilon platform on which the Malibu rides shows itself once you start tossing the sedan into turns. The stiff body and firm suspension give up very little in the...way of body lean, squat or dive. The Malibu easily pushes through tight turns, hindered only by its touring tires that squeal once they near their limits. At a standstill, the power steering is so light you can turn the wheel with one finger. Once in motion, however, the steering quickly firms up to return accurate and linear road feel. The four-speed automatic performs admirably, with a convenient up/down shift button that lets you toggle through gears one through threea useful device when driving in snow.
Up/Down Shift Button
The up/down shift button on the automatic transmission lever lets you toggle between gears one through three.
Fold-Flat Passenger Seat
The Malibu's fold-flat front passenger seat increases cargo-hauling capability.
The Malibu's interior features large, legible gauges, a modern and clean center cluster and some of the best seats we've experienced in a Chevrolet. New colors and seat patterns definitely brighten the formerly monotone interior, but the plastic on the dash and door panels still needs some work. As for dimensions, the Malibu offers plenty of leg-, hip- and headroom both front and rear. The sedan's huge trunk also expands easily via the folding rear seat, while the Malibu Maxx wagon offers a sliding fore-and-aft split rear seat.Exterior
Though handsome, the Malibu's exterior sheetmetal holds nothing earthshaking. Standout features include large jewel-like headlamps, styling lines that curve over the front and rear wheel arches and a bright chrome bar splitting the grille. While the sedan and wagon are virtually identical from the B-pillar forward, the Malibu Maxx distinguishes itself via a large flip-up hatchback and an additional six inches between the front and rear wheels.
The Malibu LS includes, as standard equipment, a 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine, air conditioning, power door locks, four cup holders, dual power mirrors, power driver's seat height adjustment, two 12-volt outlets, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, tachometer, cruise control, power windows, AM/FM stereo with CD, front and rear head-curtain airbags and full wheel covers. The LT trim adds the 3.5-liter V6 (Maxx only), 16-inch alloy wheels, premium cloth seats, body-colored mirrors, door handles and rocker panels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch controls. The LTZ adds automatic air conditioning, heated mirrors, side-impact airbags, heated leather seats, six-way power driver's seat, 17-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels and power adjustable pedals.
Popular options include a power sunroof, OnStar, front seat side-impact airbags, six-way power driver's seat, auto-dimming interior mirror, XM Satellite Radio, remote control starter, rear-seat DVD entertainment system (Maxx only) and a six-disc in-dash CD changer.
The standard 2.2-liter engine is an underwhelming performer, but returns outstanding fuel economy considering the Malibu's size. The V6 models offer better power, with city/highway fuel economy almost equal to the four-cylinder. The new 200-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 with variable valve timing accelerates briskly, with very little growl even under full throttle. Passing power is also excellent and, once up to speed, the engine is barely audible inside the passenger compartment.
2.2-liter in-line 4
144 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
155 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34
217 horsepower @ 5800 rpm
217 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/32 (sedan), 20/29 (Maxx)
By L.Tulip on Wednesday, March 25, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 122,319overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Reliable, sunroof, heated seats"
Cons: "Weird thing with turn signals."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I loved my car. I purchased it new in 2004. It hardly required any service. Oil changes, new tires and a few tune-ups. The only little quirk was when the first rain would come (and it the Bay Area there isn't a huge rainy season) one or two turn signal bulbs would burn out. Sometimes I would have to replace the bulbs twice during the rainy season, but otherwise the car ran like a champ . . . until I got rear-ended and shoved into the car in front of me, totaling my car. I am going to get another one because it was such a great car."
By Kat on Saturday, February 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Price"
Cons: "Back seat not wide enough for three car seats"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I have nothing bad to say about this car. Very reliable and gas efficient. I have grown out of this car but it has been dependable and easy to afford."
4 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By wsanchez on Monday, February 23, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 164,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"When I bought this car,everyone said it was not good car. right now I have eight years with the car and I can say, it's excellent car."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By Ontime on Saturday, February 07, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 124,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Does everything very well."
Cons: "The steering wheel could have been better."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I purchased this car at 10k mileage in 2006. My decision was based on my test drive. It did everything exceptionally well. It accelerated fantastic, handled like it was on rails, and braked well. Everything else was exceptional - easy to read gauges, good stereo, fairly comfortable, good visibility. It has over 123k now and all I have done is normal maintenance, brakes, tires, fluid changes, plugs, thermostat, and a heater control panel. It still runs and drives nearly like the day I bought it. I just had all the recalls done. It does not leak or burn oil. That's it, take it for what it is."
10 people out of 17 found this review helpful
By Cali on Thursday, January 29, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have a 2005 Malibu I got a year ago last August. I would not recommend it to any one. the worst car I have ever had the worst and more problems with. sometimes my car will not start, there is a light that will not go off when I am driving. after I already got it fix's once. the peace that shifts the car came off and had to get it put back on, my care jerked when I was driving a few times. I need a wheel bearing. to many recalls for a car I think. back to the dealership for the second time. very disappointed. off to get a new car."
4 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Pattilou on Sunday, January 18, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "It's been a great car!"
Cons: "No cons as it was just like we wanted!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Only had a minor problem & it got fixed in no time. Otherwise it has been trouble free. I had one recall & it was fixed."
6 people out of 8 found this review helpful